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Monday, 20 August 2018
Page: 7784


Mr TIM WILSON (Goldstein) (17:16): The future is going to be awesome, and that is the basis on which I support the Space Activities Amendment (Launches and Returns) Bill 2018. It enables this country to engage more proactively in the potential of the horizons beyond us and in the wonderful world of space for whatever we choose to do. We know that the global space economy is now worth some $450 billion. That's measured in dollars; but the horizon of opportunities in what the space industry provides us, in technology, in science, in the pursuit of what we can achieve as people, is so much greater and is so exciting. We are an industrious nation of scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators, all of whom have so much to offer in the boundless frontiers of the commercial space industry. It is incredibly exciting what we as a nation can achieve, not just for ourselves, but for the future of the world and humanity in pursuing that ambition.

Space activity has of course traditionally been housed in governments and space agencies, thus subject to the inflexibility of budget considerations and, more importantly, limitations. In the 21st century the space industry will reach its next chapter, one which will see the power of the market unshackled from the burdens of the public sector through fierce competition, through private enterprise, to see the boundless potential of what can be achieved beyond our atmosphere. We'll see space hubs accelerate to a new level of ingenuity. The space sector is growing at a rate of more than 10 per cent per annum. The potential of this industry is incredible for us, for our country, for the world. We are just getting started. We have so much potential as a country because of the natural bounty we have, whether it's because of the role of the fuels, the technology and the minerals that enable us to be able to build up an industry of the future, but also because we have those innovators and scientists who can harness their intellectual power to build with the natural resources of this continent a space industry to take the potential of this country off the ground and into the atmosphere.

Already over 70 space start-ups have emerged as domestic and international investment is rushing in. We have the energy, human capital and courage to create a space hub driven by commerce and industrialism to take, not just the industry of the early part of the 20th century, not just the development of the service sectors that have profoundly transformed our economy in the late 20th century and earlier part of the 21st century, but to combine them for the potential for a mid- and late-21st-century industry.

Our space industry employs nearly 11,000 people and is worth $4 billion a year now. But it is only a beginning of what we can realise as a people in the future. There is no reason those numbers shouldn't multiply into the future. A new government space agency will be a significant moment for our country in contributing to that process, because we need the commercial industries and government to be working hand in hand. We have an obligation to ensure that the commercial regulatory environment is sound enough to allow private enterprise to flourish but, more critically, to work with many of the other businesses and space agencies that operate across the world. This bill supports the changing nature and growth of that industry by streamlining and simplifying licencing and insurance requirements. We are getting the dead hand of red tape out of the way so Australia's space innovators can fully unleash their growing capability and compete on the global stage. I just say to the members of the opposition who are scoffing right now: the future is going to be awesome, and we're bringing it about as part of this Turnbull government.